Yes, I know. You’re tired of hearing about Joey Bosa. Most everyone in San Diego likely is, regardless of which side you’re on.
Bosa remains the only unsigned first-round pick from the 2016 NFL draft and on top of that, no rookie has held out longer than this since the new rookie wage system was put into effect.
Bosa doesn’t want offset language in his contract. He also doesn’t want a big chunk of cash deferred until 2017. General manager Tom Telesco and the Chargers organization have said “too bad”, and fans are stuck in the middle of a stalemate. Regardless of which side you’re on, said stalemate is frustrating.
Bosa is now looking at the possibility of missing a huge chunk—if not all—of training camp, as well as multiple preseason games. But let’s be honest, he’s not the first rookie in team history to do this.
LaDainian Tomlinson, Quention Jammer and Shawne Merriman—all former first-round picks—started their NFL careers by holding out. Though none of those have gotten as out of hand as the Bosa situation, it lends credence to the fact that this might not be the easiest front office to deal with.
That’s not even to mention Eli Manning, who refused to come to San Diego after being drafted No. 1 overall by the team in 2004. In case you had somehow forgotten about that, Bosa’s mother made sure everyone was reminded of it when she exclaimed “I wish we pulled an Eli Manning“.
So, regardless of which side you’re on, things don’t look good from either side. But let’s answer that question. Which side are you on? That of the rookie player, or that of the front office?
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Before you give your final answer, let’s take one thing into account: How badly is this hurting the Chargers chances of staying in San Diego? A franchise with a huge ballot measure coming down the pike in November should steer clear of any negative publicity, at least one would think. Could this contract situation be the final blow to the Bolts in San Diego?
The last thing citizens who will be voting in November want to hear about is a player they’ll likely perceive as whiny and greedy, holding out over a contract issue. Though the team is in the midst of camp and with the first preseason game of the year scheduled for Saturday, there is plenty to talk about. Yet, Bosa is dominating headlines and will continue to do so until a resolution is reached.
So, what is that resolution?
Jan 24, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa at the national championship celebration at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
If you’re the Chargers and you really care about staying in town, you’ll either need to meet Bosa’s demands or send him somewhere else. Seriously, you ask? How could you come to such a quick decision? Because the longer it carries on, the longer it negatively impacts November’s vote.
This puts Telesco and company in a tough situation. Do you give in to Bosa, setting a precedent that other rookies could take advantage of in the future? The window to trade Bosa’s rights to another team has closed. However, a deal would have been nearly impossible to reach and that likely wasn’t discussed much at all.
Deadline for Chargers to trade Joey Bosa's draft rights has come and gone. SD never considered it. Two sides now haven't spoken in 12 days.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2016
Finally, the team can do nothing, hoping that Bosa’s side gives in. However, there is plenty of risk there. First, the negative news continues to make getting a new stadium deal tough. Furthermore, though the Chargers still own Bosa’s draft rights, he’s not obligated to play for them.
The Chargers have until the Tuesday following Week 10—November 15 to be exact—to get a deal done. If not, Bosa will not play this season. If the two sides continued to play hard ball, Bosa could actually re-enter the NFL Draft in 2017. Since the Chargers would still own his rights, no other teams would be able to talk with Bosa during the draft process and he would be ineligible to participate in the annual scouting combine. Still, any other team in the league could draft him if it got that far.
Looking at things that way, Bosa’s mother might still get to “pull an Eli Manning”. Does the team really want that kind of black cloud covering the team all season? I’d hope not, because if it’s there, you can all but guarantee a deal for a new stadium will not go through.
Keep in mind that this would have been Bosa’s senior season at Ohio State, so he could be looking it as a “free year” of sorts. Though he’s likely not making many new fans, he knows his rights and he’s painting the Chargers into a corner.
The Chargers need to take control, for the sake of the future of the team. In what will be such a crucial season in San Diego, this madness must be stopped. So, Mr. Telesco, do what you need to do to stop it.